First trans-Atlantic drone flight is set to leave from North Dakota

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Officials say the first trans-Atlantic flight by a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft is set to take off from an aviation park in North Dakota.

The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. drone is scheduled to leave from the Grand Sky park at the Grand Forks Air Force Base Tuesday afternoon. The flight will cover more than 3,000 miles before landing in Gloucestershire, England, where the Royal Air Force is holding its centennial celebration.

The aircraft is an MQ-9B, which is 38 feet long with a wingspan of 79 feet. The plane recently flew continuously for more than 48 hours.

General Atomics spokeswoman Melissa Haynes says the flight is meant demonstrate the technology that allows the plane to fly alongside private and commercial aircraft.

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